Viet Nam celebrated World Wetlands Day in Van Long Wetlands, Ninh Binh Province on February 22 and 23. This year’s theme was “Healthy Wetlands, Healthy People”.
The numerous celebration activities at Van Long Wetlands reflected this theme. Key activity of the two-day celebration was a forum where expert wetlands practitioners and youth reflected on the value of wetlands and their anthropogenic benefits. Other activities included planting trees, introducing fish into wetland waters, and cleaning up the garbage of the Van Long Wetland area. These activities raised public awareness of the importance of wetlands in Viet Nam and the pressing need to conserve the country’s wetlands.
Representatives from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MoNRE), Viet Nam Environment Protection Agency (VEPA), Ninh Binh Province People’s Committee, IUCN, Birdlife International, Van Long Nature Reserve Management Board, local youth union delegates, and students participated in the celebrations.
Wetlands make up approximately one third of Viet Nam’s total area. The conservation of wetlands in Viet Nam is critical to the sustainable development of the country. Promoting the environmentally friendly use of wetlands and supporting wetlands conservation is a priority for IUCN Viet Nam. As such, IUCN Viet Nam was pleased to contribute to World Wetlands Day celebration by participating in the national organizing committee, developing contents for the wetlands discussion forum, and providing financial support.
Wetlands provide a great deal of benefits to local communities and the entire population of Viet Nam. Healthy wetlands maintain the functions of ecosystems supported by wetlands and act as a natural buffer against extreme environmental events such as floods and droughts. Sustainable wetland management provides to a healthy environment for people, both near and distant to wetlands by filtering fresh water resources. Lastly, wetlands contribute to local livelihoods by providing a nutritious food sources and aquaculture development opportunities.
The Convention on Wetlands, signed in Ramsar, Iran, in 1971, is an intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. The day that the Convention on Wetlands was signed in Ramsar is recognized annually as World Wetlands Day. All contracting parties, including the Government of Viet Nam, observe its celebration.